3TV pilot's family healing 5 years after mid-air helicopter crash

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz -- It's hard to believe it's been five years since we lost four valley journalists in a mid-air collision helicopter crash.

3TV Pilot Scott Bowerbank was one of the victims. Patti Kirkpatrick spoke with his parents about his legacy and found out how Rusty and Leslie are doing.

Looking back through old photographs of their Scott is therapeutic but often bittersweet.
"We occasionally go back and look at the pictures of when he was younger and that brings back a lot of good memories," Rusty Bowerbank said.

On July 27, 2007, Scott was killed in the mid-air crash.

"The worst part of it was just the reality of what happened," Rusty stated.

"It was surreal. Like it didn't happen. We couldn't believe it. It would come home to us and we'd cry and cry and cry those first few weeks and months. It wasn't real," Leslie explained.

Now that the five year anniversary of the tragedy is upon us, the Bowerbanks say they are in a much better place.

"He's in here. Like every departed soul to their family is, my heart is full of him," Leslie remarked.

Leslie and Rusty have chosen to remember all the exciting adventures Scott had being a pilot. From the cockpit, the world was always at his fingertips. Seeing sea creatures, flying over national landmarks, even escorting celebrities. It was all just part of the job.

"We're proud of him because not only was he our son, but he flew rock stars, he would fly Guns and Roses, and he would say mom I ate spaghetti with them back stage and they're so normal. And then they go out on stage and they're crazy," Leslie explained.

Another VIP highlight, the time when NBC News called requesting Scott fly retired US Army General Norman Schwarzkopf.

"I mean he just loved flying." Leslie added, "It was obvious, he truly loved what he was doing," Rusty said.

While the Bowerbanks heartache will never fade, they appreciate more than ever the 42 years they did have.

"You can be angry and get stuck in your grief or you can make a conscientious choice with God's help, to move on and move forward and we know we'll never get him back. I hope I see him again someday," Leslie said.

The 2007 crash was a catalyst for change in our industry. The NTSB imposed new rules requiring the reporting role be assigned to someone other than the pilot unless they can prove the workload is manageable under all conditions.